by Carolyn Hope

Life is full of different relationships. Every person is unique, and as such, so is every relationship or interaction between two or more people. Sometimes, relationships can get extremely challenging or perhaps seem like a drag. As a task-oriented person, I can attest to occasionally feeling like people are distractions. In reality, however, life is about relationships and people; indeed, God is about relationships and people.

This week, I want to explore a few different types of relationships, highlighted in some accounts from Scripture. The way we act toward family and the way we behave with friends is not the same. While in no way will this be a thorough, complete, or exhaustive exploration, I hope to get you started in viewing the interactions of people in Scripture as relational advice for our own lives. From foreign relations to the relationship we have with our Father in heaven, the Bible covers it all. Every story, record, and verse in the Word is full of principles that are beneficial for the life God has called us to live.

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Fruit #9: Self-Control

by Carolyn Hope

For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. (2 Timothy 1:7)

Self-control is the all-encompassing struggle of the soul. The need for self-control comes from the three-part nature of humanity; every person is a spirit with a soul in a body, and there is a battle waging among the three of them. Every human’s body is at odds with his new-born spirit, and his soul (mind, will, and emotions) must decide which voice to listen to. This is where we need self-control.

Proverbs 25:28 tells us, “A person without self-control is like a city with broken-down walls.” Self-control is our defense system. Without it, everything will fall apart. Self-control looks temptation in the eye and steadily refuses to give in. It’s the ability to choose what’s right over what you want.

Self-control looks different for every person. To some, self-control means not going into a store with a sale so as to not spend money unnecessarily. For others, self-control is eating a salad instead of pizza. I personally need self-control whenever I go to a bookstore (I am absolutely a book-lover). Self-control will keep you careful in what you watch, wear, eat, say, and do.

One of the greatest tools for growing in self-control is to know what God’s Word says and what your convictions are. Get as much of the Bible in your heart as you can, and it will mold you into a man or woman of discipline. You’ll be able to stand confidently before places and things that once made you weak and remain strong.

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The Promises of Psalm 91

By Gordon Lindsay

“He that dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty” (Psalm 91:1).

There is a glorious land of which few Christians are aware. Job spoke of it when he said, “No bird of prey knows that hidden path; no falcon’s eye has seen it. Proud beasts do not set foot on it, and no lion prowls there” (Job 28:7-8). Job goes on to say that the natural man does not know where this path is, but God reveals it to those that fear Him (verses 13-28).

The 91st Psalm is the wonder chapter of the Bible and is a favorite of Bible lovers. But although millions have read its words and are aware of its glorious promises, most have not seen those promises fulfilled in their lives. What is the reason? The promises are only available to those that dwell in the secret place. The door to the secret place of the Most High, that glorious land, is found in only one approach – the pathway of faith and absolute surrender to the will of God. Not many choose to walk in this pathway, for it appears to be a lonely one. But great are the privileges of those who boldly press into the secret place of the Most High.

A Refuge and a Fortress

First of all, this secret place is one of security. “I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.’” People today are seeking security in the world in which there seems to be none. But he who takes refuge in the fortress of God will find that no enemy can penetrate its defenses. It is a true refuge, a shelter in the time of storm. “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe” (Proverbs 18:10).

Deliverance From Snares

Some years ago, while conducting a series of meetings in a desert town of Arizona, we were invited by a trapper to accompany him while he set his traps. During the time we were with him, we didn’t see a single wild animal except for the omnipresent jackrabbit, even though many animals had their lairs in the desert. These keen-scented beasts of the wilds would catch our scent and be gone long before we were near enough to see them. But the trapper was not troubled. He knew the ways of the desert. With his gun he brought down a scampering jackrabbit. Its fur was worthless, of course, but our guide had another purpose in mind.

Laying his gun aside, he put on his gloves, disemboweled the rabbit, tied a string around it and began a trek down the arroyo, dragging the rabbit behind him. This naturally left a strong scent along the creek bed. At intervals, he would pause and lay down a trap, covering it lightly with leaves. He repeated his performance several times as we continued down the arroyo. Next morning, some of the traps held prey that had been ensnared during the night. The wary animals could not be captured by direct means, but were easily ensnared when the proper methods were used.

Satan also knows just what traps to set for the wary as well as the unwary. But he who lives in the promises of the 91st Psalm has no reason to be afraid. “Surely,” says the psalmist, “He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler.”

He Shall Cover You With His Feathers

“He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge.” One of the most touching illustrations that the Lord used when revealing His love for a people who had rejected Him is found in Luke 13:34: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were not willing!” That tender love, which was thoughtlessly spurned by the inhabitants of Jerusalem, is for all those who dwell in the secret place of the Most High.

The love of such a simple creature as a mother hen is a compelling witness to the fact that the Creator of the universe possesses strong attributes of love. Some years ago, on the great prairies of the West, a fire got out of control, and fanned by the wind, it rolled across the plains with menacing speed. There was only one thing the homesteaders could do and that was to flee before the path of the flames. There was no time to take anything with them. Later, one of the ranchers came back to view the ruins and happened to kick aside a charred hulk. To his utter amazement, several little chicks ran out unharmed, having been protected from the passing fire by the mother hen who herself had perished in the flames. The little creature had seen the fire and fully realized the danger. But a stronger instinct than fear caused the hen to throw her wings over her charges in a desperate effort to save them. The lives of her brood were worth more to her than her own.

Once, a fire passed through the Earth – the fire of sin – the flames of which were so intense that they could easily take the lives of all who dwelt there. However, God, in His great love, took the full force of the holocaust and spread His wings to save all who would take refuge in Him. Having saved them, He now watches over His own day and night, for they are the apple of His eye.

His Truth Shall Be Your Shield and Buckler

The secret of the 91st Psalm lies in the believer’s loving obedience to the laws given by the Lord, for His commandments are not too heavy to bear. But how many Christians are committed to obey the entire Word of God? The truth is that too many obey the commands of the Master only when it appears not to cost them too much, and so, they stop short of entering into that place of safety and security.

However, as one prayerfully commits his way to the Word and will of God, he begins to see things change. The law of the kingdom begins to operate in his favor. “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). Gradually, the terrible complications of life begin to work themselves out. And as one sees God’s power working in his favor, his soul finds rest and peace.

You Shall Not Be Afraid

The world is full of fears. Even many Christians are afflicted with fears of all sorts. There are many church members who have a deadly fear of the devil. Some are afraid that they can succumb to a terminal disease when they have nothing of the kind.

These people live marginal Christian lives. It is only when trouble comes that they frantically look to the Lord to rescue them. And often He does, on an emergency basis, but there is a better way.

No Plague Shall Come Near Your Dwelling

“No evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling.”

Is it necessary for men to be plagued by accident, misfortune, disaster and pestilence? Not if he dwells within the secret place of the Most High, as implied in the words of this amazing psalm. The enemy who challenged Christ will surely challenge His followers. But these things shall not overcome the believer; rather he shall overcome them. “He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble.” Glorious promise! The Lord will not only send help, but will come Himself and stay until the enemy flees in ignominious rout. “For He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways. In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.”

The psalm tells us another great secret – the fact that angels guard those who dwell in the secret place. Most people who fall into sin do so when they think no one is observing them. They forget that angels are watching. It is quite probable that some Christians go to places where angels are unable to accompany them. When one gets on the devil’s territory, the enemy can take advantage of his vulnerability. Indeed, such people have deliberately exposed themselves to attack.

You Shall Tread Upon the Lion and the Cobra

“You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra, the young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.”

So far, we have considered the protection offered by God to His children. Now we learn of something even greater. We are granted power to triumph over our foe. Jesus said, “Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you” (Luke 10:19).

Many people have a fear of what the devil may do to them. They are haunted by complexes and feel defeated. How different is God’s plan for His people! Humanity was not created to be weak, cringing creatures, subject to sickness, disease, oppression, depression, evil habits and the deception of the devil. When God created people, He made them in His own image and destined them to have dominion over the Earth. Humanity has lost that dominion through sin, and the image of God has been marred.

All that humanity has lost through the fall, however, is regained in Christ. God’s purpose for His people is that they should regain their lost dominion, to become victorious and triumphant in Christ forever. For those who dwell in the secret place, this great promise is realized. Instead of fearing the devil, they can resist him – and he will run away, not just walk away (James 4:7).

The Psalm concludes with a final note. “With long life I will satisfy him, and show him My salvation.” It is a long life, a godly life, for it is nothing else but life eternal. When his body, this old tenement of clay, finally crumbles to dust, his spirit, youthful, undimmed with age, will receive the glorified body which the Lord will give at His Coming. Happy is the person that has chosen to dwell in the secret place of the Most High. He shall taste of the joys of life eternal to the fullest and shall share in its everlasting delights.

This article is taken from the August 1972 issue of Christ For The Nations magazine.

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